College President at the Employee Picnic: Attendance is Mandatory
Company picnics are valuable opportunities to connect with coworkers in a more casual environment. This is doubly true for leadership. Faculty and employees are familiar with your vision and management, but an employee picnic allows them to get to know you more personally. Here are a few ground-rules:
Show up. Attendance is mandatory. If you’ve asked employees to attend, you must be there as well.
Relax. Don’t show up in a three-piece suit. Dress appropriately for the occasion and be approachable in your demeanor.
Join in. Summer picnics are fun by design. Don’t sit stiffly on the sidelines, but join in the games. Your email will wait—resist the urge to steal glances at your smartphone and be fully present.
Engage others. Take advantage of the opportunity to interact with many different staff members by cultivating conversations. Make sure that having genuine interactions is your highest goal.
Stay a while. Your time is valuable and it can be tempting to think you can just pop in (and out), but a brief appearance can do more harm than good. By being present you are communicating that you value your employees and the opportunity to connect with them.